Separation of Church and State
"Let there be freedom of religion, but keep religion separate from government. A country that bows down to the laws of religion will one day be governed by religion."
Advent of Religions
Religions were invented by inspired humans for humans to belong to a group, to a community where they can share the same concept of loving and sharing, the same concept of who the supreme being (God) is. To keep the group united the founders of religions capitalized on kindness and guilt. They also instilled the valued concept that the soul can be damned into eternal sorrow. So they based religion on the salvation of the soul from eternal damnation. Religion instills the idea in us, that we are born with the tendency towards evil. The founders of religions branded the survival instinct of humans, that would make a human deprive others for the sake of survival, as an inherent evil. Instead of molding and teaching the young to overcome this instinct to "cheat" and "deprive", by using the principles of universal stewardship, the spiritual leaders simply condemned this as evil.
Did God give us commandments? Did he make a laundry list for humans of what is good and what is bad? NO. God did not do any of those. Men did. God continues to inspire us everyday, God continues to communicate with us via our feelings and enlightened minds. God continues to communicate with us through nature. The spiritual leaders interpreted these feelings and conveniently have written books and commandments in the name of God.
Writing things down as laws coming from men is not as intimidating as writing it down as coming from God. The spiritual leaders knew, that if the author is God, it will carry more weight and influence. Fear and guilt are the simple tools of the spiritual leader to make people believe. Again, preaching "Salvation from Damnation" worked wonders for the spiritual leaders.
Gathering people together to give thanks to God is good. Preaching all the goodness of humanity is good. Teaching humanity to care for mother nature is good. However, this did not get many followers. This did not create the bond to form a Union that the spiritual leader wanted for his group. So the formula was Fear. Fear from eternal damnation. The unexplainable natural disasters became capital goods for the spiritual leader. He capitalized on the CONSEQUENCES of the negatives. The negative brings on damnation. This created fear and fear from losing God became the ticket to the Unity for his organization, which later gave birth to religions.
Everyone feels guilt. When we do something wrong we feel that need for atonement. The founders of religions capitalized on this. Strangely enough Christianity is based on the teachings of Jesus Christ, yet he did not start a religion. Gautama Buddha was not the founder of the religion of Buddhism. Judaism was not founded by Abraham. The bottom line is this: founders of religions took the teachings of the great teachers and used their great teachings to create a religion to unite a group of people to sustain the contradictory force of others who do not believe in the same concepts. Hence, every religion teaches that their way is the only way. This kind of teaching creates conflict, bias and prejudice.
Religion grew on the desperation of humanity instead of its prosperity. Seldom would you read in the books of religions the teachings on how to be prosperous. Rarely is there anything about being pro-active. The focus is not on teaching the children the values of universal stewardship. Rather, the target of religions is on the adult life of humanity and about its salvation from damnation.
The target or main topic of religion is always the after life. However, bear in mind that there is no religion in the spirit world. Religion is only for the living. Created by the living to benefit the living organization.
Is religion bad? No! Religion gives a person something to believe in and something to belong. It is the choice of the individual.